Comments by Brian Shilhavy
Unaccompanied minors coming across the Mexico – U.S. border has been a problem under many presidents’ terms.
In 2016 we published an article about Sen. Rob Portman’s six-month investigation looking at 125,000 unaccompanied minors who had crossed the U.S. borders into the United States since 2011, reportedly fleeing violence and unrest in Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.
Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) recently published a six-month investigation looking at 125,000 unaccompanied minors who have crossed the U.S. borders into the United States since 2011, reportedly fleeing violence and unrest in Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.
This U.S. Senate report concluded that the Office of Refugee Resettlement, an agency of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), has failed to protect these children from human trafficking, leaving them vulnerable to abuses at the hands of government-approved caretakers.
U.S. law requires HHS to ensure that unaccompanied alien children (UAC) are protected from human trafficking and other forms of abuse.
However, this is not happening.
The fact that the United States is a popular destination for child trafficking has been well documented:
The causes of the surge of UACs are disputed, but all stakeholders, including HHS, agree that one reason UACs come to this country is that they are ‘brought into the United States by human trafficking rings.’
According to the State Department’s 2015 Trafficking in Persons Report, ‘[t]he United States is a source, transit, and destination country for men, women, transgender individuals, and children — both U.S. citizens and foreign nationals — subjected to sex trafficking and forced labor.’ Human trafficking involves transporting or harboring human beings, often for financial gain, through the use of fraud, force, or coercion. (Report)
The Senate report notes several “Systemic Deficiencies” in the government’s failure to protect these vulnerable children from organized criminal trafficking:
- HHS’s Process for Verifying a Category 3 Sponsor’s Identity and Relationship with a UAC Is Unreliable and Subject to Abuse
- HHS Is Unable to Safeguard Children from Sponsors Attempting to Accumulate Multiple Children
- HHS Failed to Require Background Checks on Non-Sponsor Adult Household Members or on Backup Sponsors
- HHS Policy Allowed Non-Relatives with Criminal Histories to Sponsor Children
- HHS Does Not Ensure a Sponsor Has Adequate Income to Support a UAC
- HHS Approves Placements with Sponsors Who May Not Remain in the Country
- Sponsors Often Inflict Legal Harm on UACs by Not Ensuring Their Appearance At Immigration Proceedings
This report was conducted under then president Obama.
It looks like Biden is continuing that same policy, as UACs are being sent to the border, where more than likely they will end up in the corrupt foster care system and being trafficked.
700+ children remain in detention at US border, 200 for over 48 hours, amid spike in unaccompanied crossings – media
Hundreds of unaccompanied minors have been held at the US border waiting to be processed, Axios reported. Almost a third of them have been lingering in detention for more than two days, as the backlog piles up.
Around 700 minors who crossed into the US on their own were kept in Border Patrol Custody as of Sunday, Axios reported on Wednesday, citing an internal Customs and Border Protection document.
By that time, around 200 children had already been held up for over 48 hours, and in the case of nine child migrants, for over 72 hours, which exceeds the maximum limit under the Flores Settlement Agreement, which stipulates that CBP cannot hold children for more than three days.
Per the same agreement, asylum-seeking children transferred to ICE detention centers cannot spend more than 20 days there, after which they must be released.
The processing system is under increasing strain due to an influx of child migrants. In January, CBP encountered 5,707 child migrants at the southwest border, almost a thousand more than in December (4,855).
President Biden, who was promising a U-turn from the Trump administration’s ‘zero tolerance’ immigration policy, has recently come under fire for reopening a child detention facility in Carrizo Springs, Texas.
The Biden administration was quick to defend the move as a temporary fix in the times of pandemic, arguing that the infamous Trump facility was reopened since the Office of Refugee Resettlement cannot house as many asylum seekers as before due to the Covid-19 restrictions.